Mental Health Awareness Week Highlights Self-Care, Well-Being And Open Dialogue On Mental Health
January 25, 2022
Students from across the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) are being invited to participate in OVC’s THRIVE week.
Organized by OVC THRIVE student club, the mental health awareness week, running from January 24 to 28, will feature virtual activities planned around #BellLetsTalk Day to help highlight the importance of self-care, well-being and an open dialogue about mental health.
THRIVE stands for “Teaching Healthy Resilience in the Veterinary Environment,” and was built on three main goals; to create an open and accepting culture regarding mental health, to encourage students to prioritize self-care, and to provide tangible resources to help students build resilience.
Organized by THRIVE executives Katryna Medyk, Sarah Bellaire, Antonia DeGroot, Danielle Herbert, Steph Cox and Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton, associate professor in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine and Director of Well-Being Programming, THRIVE week activities will include virtual presentations, social events, and more.
THRIVE week activities are designed for all OVC students: student veterinarians across all four years of the Doctor of Veterinary (DVM) program, graduate students, residents and interns.
THRIVE Week encourages us all to take a pause, reflect, and perhaps come away with new insights or tools that can help make a difference in our well-being. Those small changes can have big impacts.” Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton, professor in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine and Director of Well-Being Programming at OVC.
To kick off the week’s events, OVC students will receive THRIVE Care Kits that include items to help support student mental health and self-care. All OVC students are then invited to participate in a virtual yoga night, a virtual cooking night, as well as two workshops and a presentation with the Wellness Education Centre.
One workshop, “SHINE Highlights” with the U of G Wellness Education and Promotion Centre, will help participants learn how to bounce back when challenges arise, learn how to be calmer and healthier, and learn skills to boost overall well-being. The second workshop with the Wellness Education Centre focuses on self-compassion, which will help participants learn how to become more understanding and kind toward themselves in the face of suffering, failure, or feeling inadequate.
The Wellness Education and Promotion Centre is also partnering with OVC Graduate Peer Helpers to host a presentation called “The Other ‘F’ Word". Open to all OVC students, this presentation will be about failure and strategies to manage experiences with it.
Students are also invited to contribute to three interactive online bulletin boards throughout THRIVE week. Titled "OVC Come Together", "I am also..." and "Take What You Need and Leave What You Can", these bulletin boards provide a space where OVC students can post about what they are struggling with, who they are outside of school and offer advice or words of encouragement to other students.
“The OVC THRIVE Club emphasizes the importance of resilience in not only our professional lives, but also in regard to our mental health and well-being, which is vital for success in our careers.” says Sarah Bellaire, a member of the OVC THRIVE executive team. “It is an entire week dedicated to highlighting the value of prioritizing our mental health and self-care, in addition to providing students with resources and activities to de-stress and have fun.”
“The OVC THRIVE Club executive is a passionate group wanting to bring resources and foster dialogue on well-being amongst all students at the OVC, recognizing that we are a community,” says Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton, faculty supervisor of the OVC THRIVE executive team. “We are no doubt facing some our most challenging times ever – THRIVE Week encourages us all to take a pause, reflect, and perhaps come away with new insights or tools that can help make a difference in our well-being. Those small changes can have big impacts.”
OVC THRIVE week was made possible by support from many gracious sponsors, including the OVC Associate Dean of Students and Academics Office, OVC Pet Trust, Departments of Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Studies, Pathobiology, and Population Medicine, the OVC Health Sciences Centre, the OVC THRIVE Club Executive and OVC Graduate Peer Helpers.